MADISON, Wis. - The Republican leader of the Wisconsin Senate gaveled into a special session on gun control and ended it 30 seconds later.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald took the action in an empty Senate chamber Thursday night shortly after 8 p.m. He has long opposed the special session called by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to pass a universal background check and "red flag" bill.
Gov. Tony Evers, the state attorney general, gun control advocates and Democratic lawmakers all urged Republicans to vote on the bills. But Republicans ignored them.
The Assembly planned to take similar action, quickly convening and adjourning the special session, later Thursday night.
Democrats say Republicans are ignoring what the public wants and putting public safety at risk.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is accusing Democratic Gov. Tony Evers of "playing politics" by calling a special session on gun control.
Vos said the Assembly will not debate or vote on the bills Thursday in the special session. He plans to gavel in and quickly adjourn the session. The Senate is doing the same thing.
Vos says, "I don't necessarily want to spend a bunch of time playing politics with this which is what it seems our Democratic colleagues want to do."
Democrats say Republicans should pass universal background checks and a "red flag" law in part because polls show broad public support.
Vos says Republicans won't support the bills because they infringe upon Second Amendment gun rights.
Several dozen people are rallying on the steps of the state Capitol in Madison in hopes of persuading Republican lawmakers to vote on two bills restricting firearm ownership.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called a special legislation session on the bills for Thursday afternoon. The measures would mandate universal background checks and allow family members or police to ask judges to temporarily seize guns from people who pose a threat. Republicans who control the Legislature say they won't even debate the bills.
About 75 people rallied outside the Capitol ahead of the session in sub-freezing temperatures. They held signs that read "(hash)allowthevote" and "Protect Kids Not NRA," a reference to the National Rifle Association.
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul warmed up the crowd, saying it's time for Republicans to act and people have had enough of "political cowardice."
Thomas Leager of the conservative group Wisconsin Patriots Alliance showed up in a sweat-shirt emblazoned with a picture of a revolver. He told a reporter that universal background checks would be unmanageable and police breaking down doors to seize people's guns would result in only more deaths.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is demanding Republican legislators vote on a pair of bills restricting firearm ownership.
Evers in October ordered a special legislative session on gun control to begin Tuesday afternoon. He wants to them to vote on bills mandating universal background checks and allowing family members or police to ask judges to temporarily seize firearms from people who pose a threat.
Republican leaders say they won't even consider the bills. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he plans to gavel in and gavel out seconds later, ending the session.
Evers sent Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos a letter Thursday morning blasting them for "ignoring the will of the people" and demanding they vote on the proposals. He says Wisconsin residents deserve to know where their legislators stand on the bills.
Gun-control advocates are imploring Wisconsin Republicans to pass a pair of bills restricting firearm ownership during a legislative special session.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in October ordered a special session to begin Thursday afternoon on bills mandating universal background checks and allowing judges to temporarily seize guns from people who pose a threat.
Republicans have said they won't so much as debate the bills. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said his chamber plans to gavel in and immediately gavel out, ending the session in that house.
A group of gun control advocates held a news conference Thursday morning in the state Capitol. They called the bills moderate, common-sense proposals that most Wisconsin residents support.
Karly Scholz, a 16-year-old junior at Madison West High School, is the Wisconsin state director for March for Our Lives, an anti-gun group that formed in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. She said she and her fellow students go to school every day fearing for their lives. She said Republicans' refusal to take up the bills equates to the GOP saying students' lives don't matter.
Gun control advocates are set to rally in Madison ahead of a special legislative session on gun restrictions that's expected to go nowhere.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers last month ordered a special session to take up bills mandating universal background checks and allowing judges to temporarily seize guns from people who pose a threat.
Groups including Moms Demand Action, Doctors for America and the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee will hold news conferences and rally at the state Capitol ahead of the session.
Republicans have said they will gavel in and immediately gavel out, ending the session as soon as it begins.